Climate change protesters are planning to paralyse London by blocking roads and glueing themselves to Tube trains. Extinction Rebellion, an activist group, says it will “bring London to a standstill for up to two weeks”, starting today with roadblocks at Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Piccadilly Circus. Police have told people to allow extra time for their journey in the event of road closures and general disruption. The group, which is demanding government action to cut emissions, says it has been encouraged by the support of Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Times 15th April 2019 read more »
The planned choking of traffic in central London on Monday by climate activists of Extinction Rebellion falls somewhere between street theatre and direct action. If it is successful it will be costly for the demonstrators, some of whom plan to be arrested, burdensome for bus passengers who can’t get to work, and vexing for car drivers who (unlike those in emergency vehicles) will be held up. And yet, should it fail, the long-term costs of climate change will be immense for almost everybody now alive and for all our descendents, too. In the short term, the rage of the frustrated motorist remains one of the most powerful political forces in countries like ours. The gilets jaunes movement in France started off in part as a protest against price rises on petrol; the Blair government sustained its first big defeat at the hands of lorry drivers in the fuel protests of 2000, which destroyed a sensible and ecologically necessary plan to raise fuel taxes steadily over time to discourage the use of fossil fuels. Any movement towards ecological sanity will have to confront this anger. The drivers’ blockades were effective direct action in support of the destruction of the planet. The challenge today is to find means of direct action that work towards its preservation while winning the same kind of social acceptance and political force.
Guardian 14th April 2019 read more »